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Love is like a fine old violin.

In the interior of Bihar, India, there is a minister in charge of 16 small, rural congregations. His music team consists of dancers, drummers and singers. The instruments used are indigenous, except for a violin played by the minister.

When International Ministries overseas staff members Margaret and Jake Vanderzweerde first met the pastor, they noticed his violin didn't sound quite right. The reason was soon obvious. The violin had been damaged, patched and painted. Even worse, whenever the strings broke, the minister had been forced to fashion new ones from stripped electrical wire. Jake resolved to look for a replacement violin when he returned to Canada.

Back in Canada, Jake had a conversation one day with Anne Marie Regehr, a music teacher, violinist and harpist, and organist at St. David's Church, St. David's, Ontario. He told her about the broken violin. The following week, Regehr called the Vanderzweerdes to tell them she had a violin for India. Their joy turned into astonishment when they learned it was made by the late Martin Chikie of Queenston, Ontario -- one of more than 200 unique and valuable fiddles he created. The one bound for India was made with wood from a black walnut tree in Pennsylvania. When Chikie began to carve the violin, he found a bullet in the log, later dated by an archivist to 1774, the time of the American Revolution. The fingerboard was made from polished rosewood. The violin had been a gift to Regehr from her husband, Daniel. Together, they decided to give it to the Indian minister.

On December 24, Regehr played the Chikie violin during the offertory at Stamford Church, Niagara Falls. The violin was then dedicated by Rev. Laurie McKay-Deacon and presented by Anne Marie to Jake.

Initially, Regehr had planned on giving a practise instrument used by students. However, as she thought more about the gift, she decided it should be a valuable violin, one with a story, one that meant a lot to her. A worthy gift on the eve of Jesus' birth. (from an account by Margaret Vanderzweerde)
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Publication:Presbyterian Record
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:9INDI
Date:Mar 1, 2001
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